An opportunity to ‘give back’January 8, 2024
Anglicare’s Participant Advisory Group (PAC) draws on the life experiences of our clients to improve our services.
Four times a year, members sit down with CEO Chris Jones and Parish Community Development Officer Margaret Savage to discuss a wide range of issues across all service areas, including housing and community services, acquired injury support and aged care.
Steven (pictured above with CEO Chris Jones) came onto PAC five years ago to represent Housing and Community Services clients in the North. He retired from the group in December last year.
“When I first started with PAC I was depressed and anxious and as a result of that, I was socially isolated,” he explained.
“When I found out that I would be in the same room as the CEO and my experiences and ideas could make a real difference, I was in – boots and all!”
Steven said Chris and Margaret quickly put him at ease, and he felt straight away that his feedback was valued.
“At that time I was running my own small business, so I brought a skill set with me, including the ability to communicate well. I took it very seriously, as an opportunity to ‘give back’. My contributions were written down and I was confident that they would be passed on and would help to improve Anglicare’s services.”
Steven said the experience also provided him with opportunities for personal growth. It gave him a new confidence in himself and where he was heading.
“It took me out of my shell and made me take responsibility,” he said. “The topics we covered were very broad, from aged care to housing to COVID and there were some diverse views. Probably the thing I enjoyed the most was spending time with the other PAC members and getting a greater understanding of some of the challenges that others faced.
“Now I deal with things better. I’ve worked with three social workers on the nuts and bolts of my mental health and PAC has been like the cream on top which has helped me to unpack things,” he explains.
“I’m more confident in myself. I’m also in a better place with my anxiety. I still find it difficult to be in places where there are lots of people, such as at the supermarket, but I know the importance of staying in the moment, making a list and focusing on what I need,” said Steven.
Last year he also benefitted from Anglicare’s financial counselling service.
“Anglicare helped me to close my business, apply for a pension and get used to budgeting for living on a fixed income,” he said.
You can find specific information about financial counselling here. It’s free and confidential.